Education

Washington State Professors: Free Speech Discourse Is ‘Disempowering To Marginalized Students’

Professors at Washington State University (WSU) have denounced free speech discourse for creating “a campus that is especially disempowering to marginalized students,” in an open letter to the community published by the school newspaper, The Daily Evergreen.

The letter, simply titled “Faculty open letter on bigotry,” was compiled by faculty, staff and graduate students at WSU, and now has over 25 signatures from professors, deans, and department chairs, The Daily Evergreen reports.

“We must create a campus that asserts that we are anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-xenophobia, anti-homophobic, anti-Islamophobic, anti-ableism, and anti-bigotry,” the letter continues. “We must work to create mechanisms and structures that combat hate, which empower all constituencies to be active in our collective efforts to rid the campus of bigotry and systemic inequality.”

The letter’s most eyebrow-raising section seemingly warns against too much free speech or tolerance for different opinions:

“To the administration, staff, and other faculty: We urge all faculty, staff, and especially
administrators to be proactive and work tirelessly to ensure that Washington State University
continues to be a place that is welcoming and supportive of all. It is not enough to call for
“tolerance” or encourage “respect” for all opinions.

It is not enough encourage “open-mindedness” and “sensitivity” especially when these passive
efforts and rhetoric invariably lead to a culture that accepts and tolerates bigotry and harassment; a campus culture that hides behind “tolerance” and discourses of free speech undeviatingly creates a campus that is especially disempowering to marginalized students.”

The letter also mentions an incident at WSU from October when some students built a “Trump wall” on campus to show their support for Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall on the southern border. In response, students protested the wall, with some holding up signs that said, “This is what Racism at WSU looks like” and “You are on stolen land.”

Since Trump’s victory in the November election, outrage and protest has occurred on college campuses across America.

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